APPT Sydney Day 1c: No slip-up from 'Banana Thief'

The chips have been bagged, the bags have been tagged and from the 289 players who each ponied up AUD $6300 for the 2010 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final, only 163 will be returning tomorrow for Day 2. Today's 146-strong field was jam-packed full of the region's finest players and there was no definitely no shortage of action.

Unlike the last two Day 1 flights, the rate of attrition for Day 1c was much higher, with 2010 ANZPT Gold Coast champion Nauv Kashyap and Aussie poker stalwart Sammy Khouiss amongst the earliest eliminations on the day. However, Barry Forrester, who placed seventh in the 2009 edition of this event, managed to score a massive double KO in the second level of play and subsequently coasted through to finish up fourth overall with 107,200 in chips.

Fellow Aussie Andrew Hiscox was also at the final table of last year's APPT Grand Final and finished in sixth place. He also went one better today over Forrester, finishing with 107,600 to be placed third overall at the end of Day 1c, with most of those chips coming from the elimination of Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem. Brother Joe survived, along with Lee "Final Table" Nelson but 2003 WSOP champion Chris Moneymaker's trip to Australia was short-lived as he was eliminated late in the day.


2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker flew a long way for a short stay

Ali Khalil was also amongst those to have benefited early and even picked up the big scalp of James "ANDY_McLEOD" Obst, who was fresh from his APPT Sydney High Rollers win over Jeffrey Lisandro. The WCOOP Player of the Series was also joined on the sidelines by WCOOP bracelet winner Roman "ROMES_HOME" Priplotski.

It was a mixed day for the Aussie online generation, with Ben Delaney, Luke Edwards and Michael Egan all falling by the wayside, but once again, Jarred "flopnutsonyou" Graham stormed through the field late in the day to finish with 93,000 in chips and it will be interesting to see if he can capitalise on his success in Sydney, having finished 10th in this event last year as well as back-to-back APPT Sydney High Rollers titles in 2008 and 2009. Reigning Aussie Millions champion Tyron Krost also made it through with 108,800 in chips.

However, it was Melbourne's Aleks Brkovic who topped the counts today with 129,100 and is third overall. The 23-year-old, who is known online as "Banana Thief", also has an ANZPT title to his name, winning the $10,000 High Stakes event during the 2010 ANZPT event in Melbourne. Brkovic made a late charge to take the chip lead over Sydney poker icon Antonis "Toothpick Tony" Kambouroglou, who bagged up 119,200.

The old guard made up a huge chunk of the end of Day 1c list, including 2010 ANZPT Canberra champion Jason Gray (55,700), 2009 APPT Grand Final fourth-place finisher Leo Boxell (36,900), Australian Poker Hall of Famer Tony G (47,800), David Gorr (52,500) and Michael Pedley (75,400).


Aleks Brkovic has a big bunch of chips for Day 2

They'll still have a lot of work to do if they're going to catch the overall chip leader, Daniel Neilson (164,100), but there's no doubt that everyone will be going at it hammer-and-tongs for the lion's share of the AUD $1.734 million prize pool and the PokerStars Blog team will be ringside once again from 12.30pm AEDST (GMT +11) tomorrow. Until then, it's ciao for now!

Landon Blackhall
@PokerStars in Sydney